On Sunday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. the Havurah's Sunday Hebrew School will host an open house for prospective families as well as returning students and their families.




Rabbi David Zaslow will open with a song circle, and Devorah Zaslow, storyteller, will tell a story in the Jewish tradition. Families will meet the staff of dedicated teachers and music specialist, Deborah Miriam Leff will share some Hebrew and Yiddish songs.




At 11 a.m. while children gather in their classrooms to meet their teachers, Rabbi David will meet informally with parents over bagels and coffee. Families are invited to participate to determine if the school, serving children 5-15 years old, is a good fit for their family.




In the Hands On Judaism Hebrew School, children learn through music, prayer, storytelling, art, singing, baking, Hebrew and text study.




"A good teacher lights the emotional and spiritual spark that is inside each child, and this can only be done by making the curriculum fun, relevant and joyous," Zaslow said.




"This is what Hands on Judaism is all about."




"Our children absorb Judaism through all of their senses &

it becomes a part of who they are," said Ayala Zonnenschein, education and program director "They learn to take responsibility by performing acts of loving kindness and community service here in Ashland and abroad."




Two years ago, the bar/bat mitzvah class adopted a school through a project called "Books for Israel" in an economically depressed community.




They created an English library for them by soliciting donations of gently used books and sending them to Israel. Later that year, some Havurah members visited that school and returned with photos and a video of the Israeli school children expressing their gratitude for the gift of books.




Learning English is crucial in Israel for any student wishing to pursue higher education.




"Our kids had an impact on kids' lives halfway around the world," Zonnenschein said. "They were very proud of themselves. They exchanged letters with the Israeli students, thereby developing personal connections. When terror struck that town some months later, it was no longer about 'the numbers of wounded' but about real people with real stories. It mattered to our kids in a different way."




The bar/bat mitzvah two-year program offers children a coming-of-age ritual as a culmination of their learning. To find out more, to receive a brochure or to RSVP for the open house, call Ayala Zonnenschein at 488-7716.




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162; Gan Neve Shalom, The Peace Garden Preschool Kindergarten, will be commencing its seventh year in mid-September, and is still accepting applications for 3- to 5-year-olds.




It is a "Waldorf-inspired" program serving children of diverse backgrounds. The children's day at the kindergarten is filled with song, story, creative play, baking, arts and crafts.




Linda Cohen is teacher/director of this independent program located at the Havurah.




"Linda is magical with the children," Zonnenschein said. "She teaches universal values, many of which are rooted in Judaism with celebration of nature based festivals that focus on caring and gratitude."




Call Cohen at 488-8887 for more information or to request a brochure.




The Havurah is located at 185 N. Mountain Ave. in Ashland. Visit the Havurah Web site at for information on programs, upcoming events and classes.